Bechamel: Mother of gratins by William C.

30 10 2008

I was given an asignment by my skills 2 teacher and was not sure how to aproach the blog so here goes.Bechamel is a very simple yet a  very important sauce. With out it we would never of had  Mac and Cheese 😦 This would have been unthinkable in todays market of cheap and fast food. Bechamel is a Mother sauce that has 3 main components. Equal parts by weight fat usually butter and flour. Now the flour type may matter, this is something for you to investigate after reading this. I asked my Baking 1 Instructor when we went over flours and make up of them,  he said that it didn’t matter. Maybe it just didn’t matter to him I don’t know. Back to the modern day recipe Flour, Fat and Milk.

Combine in sauce pot flour and fat to make a roux, cook out the flour taste( NO COLOR )This is a white roux.

Then add the milk, you can add cold milk to hot roux or vice versa but never hot with hot, You’ll get lumps.

Bring to a boil to acheive the full thickening power of the roux and you have Bechamel Sauce. There are many variations of flavoring Bechamel. The classical Bechamel sauce I found was made by C. Herman Senn author of The Book Of Sauces.  On a side note this is a wonderfull book with all classic sauces and I mean All the sauces.You can find it on line reprints are pretty cheap. It was copyrighted in 1915.

! ounce butter

1ounce flour

1 pint of  boiling milk

1 onion pique( piece of onion with a bay leaf pierced with a clove)

1 sliced carrot

10 white peppercorns

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 small pat of butter

Make the roux by dissolving the butter in a sauce pan and adding the flour. Cook slightly but no color. Then add the boiling milk and the rest of the ingredients. Simmer for 15 minutes, pass through a tammy cloth (cheese cloth) return to pan and  monte au beurre adding the butter and lemon juice.There you have a classical Bechamel sauce.

Now we can discuss the small sauces like Mornay sauce(cheese sauce). In the mordern day all you have to do is add some type of your favorite cheese to it to make it Mornay but the classical way is very time consuming because you have to make another 2-3 sauces. Wich means more mother sauces and then more small sauces and other ingredients then cook all of them together. I can see why the french needed a chef/cook just for sauces.Another side note: Mother sauces, there are 4 main sauces that all other sauces are made from they are Bechamel, Veloute, Tomato, and Espangole. Sometimes Hollandaise ( not really a mother sauce )More like a method. Maybe I’ll blog again about Mornay Sauce later but if you want the real deal check out The Book of Sauces.




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